Astronomers from Stockholm contribute to new report on the future of European astronomy

04 May 2023 | Network Updates | Update from Stockholm University
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A new report by an international consortium of leading astronomers sets out recommendations to transform our understanding of the Universe in the next decade. Astronomers from Stockholm were involved in writing this report.

The ASTRONET Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap 2022-2035 is the latest comprehensive roadmap produced by the ASTRONET network of European funding agencies communities and research organisations.

ASTRONET is an independent consortium whose aim is to create a common science vision for all European astronomy by convening diverse groups to describe the challenges facing some of the biggest questions in science. Garrelt Mellema from the Department of Astronomy represents the Swedish Research Council on the board of ASTRONET.

Panels including over 100 scientists from across Europe fed into the report and a series of public consultations were also held to ensure that it reflected the breadth of views within astronomy. These panels included Matthew Hayes and Jorrit Leenaarts from the department of astronomy at Stockholm University.

These established key priorities, such as understanding the origin of the Universe and the evolution of planets in our Solar system, as well as making recommendations on the facilities and resources needed to meet these priorities. A continued supply of highly trained and motivated researchers will also be fundamental to progress and societal engagement.

In making its recommendations, the report considers recently published visions provided by the European Space Agency, NASA, and advisory bodies such as the particle astrophysics consortium.

The aim of the report is to create an openly accessible resource for policy makers and science leaders to support informed decisions that more effectively and efficiently direct scientific discovery.

The previous ASTRONET Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap (published in 2007 and revised in 2015) included recommendations which fed into proposals for world famous scientific infrastructure such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Extremely Large Telescope and the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).

Through recommendations such as these, the ASTRONET Roadmap has become a valuable source of information on research efforts which benefit both the international research community.

Professor Amelie Saintonge, Professor of Astrophysics at University College London and lead editor of the report, said:

“The technology behind the facilities that allow for groundbreaking Astronomical discoveries often takes decades to mature. This is why it is essential to take a long term and global look at our scientific priorities, as we do in the ASTRONET Science and Infrastructure Roadmap.”

“The Roadmap highlights the need for a balanced and integrated infrastructure where large flagship observatories are complemented by smaller rapid-response facilities, computation and data centers, as well as laboratory facilities and technology development infrastructures.

“Another growing priority of the community is that Astronomical research is conducted in a sustainable and equitable manner, that also fulfils our roles as educators and responsible citizens.  

“The report highlights the importance of including these considerations right at the first moments of decision making.”

You can read the full report and learn more about ASTRONET on the Astronet website

This article was first publishing on 4 May by Stockholm University.

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